Press releases from the WorldSBK teams after Saturday:
#PortimaoWorldSBK – Day 2: Flawless Rea extends Portimao winning streak
Sunny skies welcomes 65th WorldSBK win for the championship leader
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) has extended his incredible winning streak at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve with another victory in Race One on Saturday, his sixth consecutive win at the Portuguese rollercoaster and his eleventh of the 2018 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship season. The Northern Irishman was stunningly dominant at Portimao, taking the lead inside the first lap and crossing the line comfortably ahead of Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in second and Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) in third.
There was drama very early on at Portimao for polesitter Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia). The Irishman had started from the front for the first time since 2013, but a slow move off the blocks saw him get caught up in the field of riders behind at turn 1. A few seconds later, Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) misjudged his turn, clashing with Laverty and taking both men out early.
Jonathan Rea took advantage of the early chaos, flying into the lead ahead of Melandri through the exit from turn 1, with Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) – in search of his first podium finish in WorldSBK – close behind, while Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) suddenly found the form that had evaded him since Friday, shooting up to fifth position inside one lap from fourteenth on the grid.
While Rea was eventually beaten for the Superpole earlier in the day, the Northern Irishman’s strength at Portimao this weekend and at the official test three weeks ago is his unbelievable consistency. Coupled with the best overall pace on track – keeping his lap times under 1’43 for the entire first half of the race – there was no stopping Rea in Race One, as he swept away into a 2-3 second gap.
There was promise of a thrilling tricolore battle behind for second, but it lasted just half the race: Savadori slid out at the end of the main straight in lap 12 and put an end to a miserable afternoon for the Milwaukee Aprilia team, just hours after their best qualifying performance of 2018.
With one Italian out, the other, Melandri strolled to his best result since the Acerbis Czech Round in second, turning good pace into a fantastic result. Michael van der Mark, completing a quiet yet professional race behind, took the remaining podium place, his eighth of the season; Davies followed with an incredibly valuable fourth place that takes him straight to P1 on tomorrow’s grid, in what had previously been a very difficult race weekend.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) made it to the checkered flag in fifth, completing a solid points haul for the green machines. Loris Baz (GULF Althea BMW Racing Team) meanwhile finished Race One in sixth, his best result since returning to WorldSBK this season.
Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) celebrated his future debut in MotoGP™ with seventh position at the Portuguese rollercoaster, which pushes him ahead of Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) in the championship standings, after a mechanical failure ended the Brit’s race early.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was the best independent rider in Race One at Portimao, coming in eighth and just ahead of fellow 2018 debutant Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in ninth. Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) completed the top ten after struggling through the early stages of the race.
Race Two in Algarve kicks off at a later time tomorrow as the grand finale of the Nolan Portuguese Round.
P1 - Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
"What a cool number to hit - 65! I want to thank all my team for a great bike this weekend. We hit the ground running at the test a few weeks ago and this weekend was all about finalising those few details. But the big thanks to all the travelling support out there from Northern Ireland, it really means a lot and it was nice to put on a nice race for those lads."
P2 - Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati)
"I knew Jonny had better pace than me so the first few laps I was pushing hard to stay with him, but I was dreaming that he slowed down a bit and I tried to follow him! But when the tyres dropped off I slowed down a bit, so second today is like a win and I cannot have something better. I will try to work on the bike and make it better for tomorrow."
P3 - Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)
"For me it was a big surprise as I struggled a lot with the bike from the start but anyway Jonny and Marco had a really good pace and Lorenzo was pushing really nicely. I was pushing a lot but I didn't feel comfortable on the bike. At the end I must be happy with this podium, it's really important for the championship so hopefully we can improve for tomorrow and fight for the podium again."
#PortimaoWorldSBK at Autodromo Internacional do Algarve: Race 1
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
2. Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) +1.575
3. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) +4.215
Landmark Win For Rea With Sykes Fifth
In scoring his 11th WorldSBK race win of the season Jonathan Rea (KRT) reached a career total of 65 victories - and a historic 50th race win since he joined Kawasaki in 2015. Tom Sykes (KRT) finished fifth after a hot race held over 20 laps of the Portimao circuit.
After an intense Superpole 2 qualifying session Rea started the first race of the Portimao weekend from the front row and second place while Sykes was sixth, making a second row start.
Rea made fast early progress and led every lap of the race, increasing his lead and then easing up to celebrate his latest win at Portimao. He has now taken six career wins at the 4.592km circuit near the Algarve coast, all in succession.
On lap three Rea set a new lap record of 1’42.304, in ambient temperatures that reached almost 30°C.
Sykes was fourth on lap one but dropped to sixth one lap later. He remained in that position for much of the early race, until he was promoted to the top five, nine laps from the end.
Rea now leads the championship by a strong 104 points, as his closest rival, Chaz Davies, placed fourth in today’s opening race. Sykes is still fourth overall and both KRT riders have one more chance to shine in the Portuguese sun in race two on Sunday the 16th of September, at 15.15 local time.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) continued the Ninja ZX-10RR success in race one as the top independent rider, in eighth place, after qualifying tenth in Superpole. Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was a battling 11th today. Yonny Hernandez (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) placed 12th and Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) 14th.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “Sixty five is a nice number of race wins and Portimao is a nice place to reach that total at, especially with so many fans from Northern Ireland here. All weekend we have been really strong and I had a few different strategies. On a clear track I could set my rhythm, but I did not want to get into too much traffic. Around half race distance Marco Melandri responded and kept the gap consistent for a few laps. I stepped it up just a little bit outside my comfort zone for a few laps. It might look like I rode away but it was difficult. I tried to keep my concentration right on the maximum every lap and I had a few front slides, overloading it a little bit in that kind of temperature. Apart from that, the bike was faultless. Even when the tyre dropped I was able to stay in the high 1’42s or low 1’43s. That was the key to the race.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “I did not expect this round to be easy, after missing a two day test here, and I think I missed that little bit of hot weather riding from the recent test. I just suffered a little bit with the front. On trail braking, it was very difficult for me to get the last part of braking done so I was suffering a lot while on the edge of the tyre. I think that is what cost us a lot of time in the race. It was a shame because we had a better balance in FP3 yesterday, with the same bike settings. It looks like in hotter conditions I have not got the best from it. We will have a little think now on why I was not able to complete my trail braking the way I wanted to, but I just did not get the best feeling from the front end.”
Strong Race 1 for the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team at Portimão: Melandri is 2nd, brave comeback by Davies (4th)
Race 1 of the 10th round of the WorldSBK Championship, held at Portimão (Portugal), delivered strong results for the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team. Marco Melandri conquered a brilliant second place, his seventh podium of the year, starting from first row. Chaz Davies mounted a heroic comeback to finish fourth despite a sore right shoulder, which was injured twice during the summer break, and a start from fourth row.
The Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team also enjoyed a positive outing with Michael Ruben Rinaldi who, after qualifying in 11th position, fought hard to finish second among "Independent" riders and ninth overall. The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team and the Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team will be back on track tomorrow at 10:10 local time (CET -1) for a final warm-up session ahead of Race 2, which is scheduled to start at 15:15.
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 2nd
"Second place was the best we could achieve today. I knew Rea's pace was a bit better, but I had a good start and stayed with him for a few laps. I wanted to try and pass him to break his rhythm, but it just wasn't possible. He was faster in some corners, I was faster in others. However, after a while I started to struggle a lot in the slow corners and it wasn't possible to follow him, but at least I was already away from the chasing group. Tomorrow we'll try to improve stability. Then we'll need to have a strong start from third row and make some quick passes. Anyway, I expect another fun race."
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 4th
"I had a great start, then it came up on me a little bit. There was a bit of pushing in turn 1, so I stayed cautious and held the inside line, which paid off. The first corners were crucial, as I came out in sixth place. I was trying to hang with VD Mark and recover from the front, but we struggled with turning a little bit. Also, in the last five laps I took it a little bit easier physically, knowing that I could just hold position. Overall I'm really, really happy. The feeling on the bike keeps getting better after each session. I was hoping for a top 8, so to come away with 4th and start from pole position tomorrow is much better than what I expected."
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team #21) – 9th
"It's been race characterized by ups and downs. The positive side is that, in the second part of the race, we were fast and the feeling with the bike was really good. However, we struggled a bit with a full fuel tank early on, in the crucial phases to stay with the front. Even at the very end we weren't perfect on used tires. So, we need to focus on the first and last laps for tomorrow's race. If we manage to be more consistent overall, we can do better than today. We know where to work on, and I feel confident."
Marco Zambenedetti, Technical Coordinator on track for Ducati Corse
"It's been a positive Race 1, in which we proved our competitiveness on this track. Marco rode with great determination, fighting for the win almost until the end and scoring a brilliant second place in difficult, hot conditions. Chaz gifted us with a memorable comeback from fifth row despite not being in his best shape physically. That said, we're determined to score even better results in Race 2 and we'll work hard as ever to allow both riders to be more competitive tomorrow."
Van der Mark Charges to the Podium in Portimão
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team rider Michael van der Mark got the final part of his 2018 FIM World Superbike Championship campaign off to a flying start today, with a superb third place finish in Race 1 at Portimão to secure the last spot on the podium. Alex Lowes rode an intelligent race to pick up valuable championship points with tenth place, after overcoming some technical issues in the 20-lap race.
Van der Mark set himself up for today's podium finish during qualifying this morning, which the 25-year-old Dutch rider finished just 0.2s off pole position to secure fifth place on the second row of the grid for the race. The track temperature had risen significantly by the time the riders lined up on the grid, with the result that rear grip became increasingly difficult to find. However, van der Mark was able to maintain a fast and consistent pace in fourth place during the first half of the race, before being elevated to third when Lorenzo Savadori crashed in front of him at half race distance.
Van der Mark remains third in the championship standings with 264 points, but today's podium finish saw him close the gap to second-placed Chaz Davies to just 27 points.
Lowes made another step forward with the set up of his Yamaha YZF-R1 this morning during the cooler conditions of FP4. The 28-year-old British rider looked certain to challenge for a starting position on the first two rows of the grid, until a crash at the ultra-fast final turn brought his qualifying session to a premature conclusion.
Starting from 12th on the grid Lowes was unfortunate to get held up behind the first lap crash at turn three, dropping him further down the field, but then fought his way back through the field to finish tenth at the line, despite having to overcome some technical problems, which are currently being investigated by the team..
Both Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team riders are confident of securing a good result tomorrow in Race 2, which gets underway at the later than usual time of 15.15.
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 3rd + 4.215
"I'm quite happy with today. It started in Superpole, where we were able to improve the bike a lot to finish just 0.2s off pole position and secure a second row grid position in P5. But right from the start of the race I was struggling a little for rear grip. That's something we need to look into tonight to see if we can find some improvement, but we can be happy with the podium today. Now we have to work hard for the second race tomorrow, where I hope we can push for the podium once again but this time from the third row of the grid."
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 10th + 32.408
"I got caught up in the crash at turn three on the opening lap, which is just one of those things when you start from 12th on the grid, but even after that my pace wasn't what I was expecting because of some issues with the bike. It was important to try and ride around the problems without making a mistake, try to keep the pace as consistent as possible and pick up as many places as I could. A tough end to the day, as I thought I'd made a good step this morning in FP4, but then in qualifying I made a small mistake in the last corner and crashed. It was a fast crash, so I was lucky to get away with it and I'm hoping for a stronger race tomorrow."
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK - Team Principal
"Michael has been strong all weekend and the YZF-R1 has been competitive in all conditions, so it was great to see him realise that potential with a podium result today. I believe Michael was expecting a little bit more; in the hotter conditions we didn't quite have the expected levels of grip. Nonetheless, he rode a very solid race, understood what the maximum he could achieve was and rode very hard and consistently. Alex, unfortunately, had a very difficult race and experienced some issues with the bike that restricted his performance. The team is now working hard to ensure that Alex has the best YZF-R1 possible for tomorrow's race and we expect him to take a good step forward."
Hard luck hits Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team in Portimão Race 1
Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, Portugal
The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team fought hard but ultimately reaped little reward in Race 1 at Portimão, as an ill Jake Gagne battled to a brave thirteenth place while his teammate Leon Camier retired due to a technical issue.
For Race 1, both Camier and Gagne lined up on Row 5 of the grid in thirteenth and fifteenth place respectively but a good start saw both riders improve their positions in the opening laps. With the race approaching the halfway mark, Camier was circulating in tenth place with his teammate Gagne just behind him in P11.
However, misfortune struck as first Camier’s motorcycle experienced a technical issue which ultimately saw the British rider return to the box on lap 10. Meanwhile, Gagne suffered from stomach problems while on the grid and although he fought his way into a top ten position, the physical discomfort meant the American rookie fell down the order, eventually finishing in thirteenth position.
Today’s results sees Gagne move up to 44 championship points and he stays in seventeenth place in the overall standings, while Camier remains on 88 championship points in thirteenth overall.
The team now look to Race 2 tomorrow which gets underway at 1515 local time (GMT +1) but before then they’ll be on track for the morning Warm Up session at 1010.
Leon Camier 2
I had a really good start and was able to make up a lot of places, but the collision between Eugene and Xavi at turn 3 meant I had to stand the bike up which lost me quite a few places. After that I was able to get back into a good rhythm and felt I could have a decent result. Unfortunately halfway through the race I suffered a problem with my bike - I tried to push on for a couple of laps, but there was no way I could continue so I had to return to the box. The team are looking into it now and we'll regroup and try again tomorrow in race 2.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Jake Gagne 45
I felt I've had a good weekend so far, qualifying wasn't the best but I knew my race pace was good. Unfortunately I had some stomach discomfort heading into the race which got worse and worse. Although I could run at a strong pace for the first few laps, as the race went on I was struggling a lot. I'll rest up and aim to be recovered for race 2 tomorrow where I'm sure I can grab a better result.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
We worked hard overnight and made some progress with our setting, but unfortunately we've experienced some bad luck on both sides of the garage. Qualifying wasn't the best for us, but in Race 1 Leon had a fantastic start and got into a good rhythm but halfway through the race he felt something wasn't right with the bike and he had to retire. We're now investigating what the problem could be. For Jake he also had some really bad luck, just before the start of the race he felt some stomach pain but was able to start and was having an excellent race getting into the top ten. However, as the race went on his physical condition got worse and although he finished the race in the points he was on for a much better result. We'll be hoping for better luck and a better result in race 2 tomorrow.
Sixth place for Baz and Gulf Althea BMW in race 1 at Portimao
Portimao (Portugal), Saturday 15 September 2018
The Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal has today hosted the first Superbike race of this tenth world championship round. It proved to be a positive race for Gulf Althea BMW rider Loris Baz, who crossed the line in sixth place, his best result of the season so far. In the Stock1000 category, Alessandro Delbianco has qualified in eighth position for tomorrow’s race.
Superpole1: eleventh in practice yesterday, Baz faced the first Superpole phase today. Completing seven laps over the course of the 15-minute session, his best lap, set in the final two minutes, was a 1’41.674. Thanks to this very fast time, the Frenchman closed this session in second place, thus gaining access to the subsequent Superpole 2.
Superpole 2: Baz headed out on track for the final minutes of the session, completing two laps on the qualifying tyre. His best time, a 1’41.213, saw him close in eighth place, which translated into a third row start for race 1.
SBK race 1: Baz got away well from eighth on the grid, lying ninth through the first corners. Up to eighth by lap four, the Frenchman gained another position mid-race, and another in the final stages. Crossing the line in sixth place, the Gulf Althea BMW man scored his best result of the season so far, as well as 10 all-important championship points.
STK1000 qualifying: fifth in the combined practices, Delbianco was back on track for qualifying this afternoon. The Italian worked well with his technicians, fine tuning a few details on his BMW. Recording a best lap time of 1’45.370, the rider finished the session in eighth place, and will therefore start tomorrow’s race from the third row.
"A good race today. I didn’t lose too much time off the line and then pushed to catch those immediately ahead. I could see I was about a second from Torres and that he was struggling with the rear tyre, so I was able to catch and pass him and achieve the best result of the season so far. A good race, not a dream result but not at all bad considering we didn’t test this summer. We were faster than many of the guys, which is very positive of course, and so I’m happy for myself and the team. We also get to start from the front row tomorrow, so we’ll try to make the most of that.”
“Today went quite well. Unfortunately I struggled a little in adapting to my bike in this afternoon’s higher temperatures and so we finished eighth. I’m satisfied with the work completed though, and tomorrow we’ll do our best to complete a good race.”
Laverty takes record-breaking pole position ahead of heartbreaking Race One at Portimao
Milwaukee Aprilia claimed a record-breaking maiden WorldSBK pole position on Saturday with Eugene Laverty ahead of crashes for both riders in Race 1
With Lorenzo Savadori joining his teammate in the pole position shootout after a superb lap of 1'41.457 on the race tyre, the team's hopes were high of a strong qualifying. The riders delivered in style, Eugene quickly flying to the top of the pile before the field boxed for fresh qualifying tyres. He then took a huge chunk off his best effort and eclipsed the previous pole record of 1'41.360 by -0.655s with a lap of 1'40.705, taking his first pole position in five years and the first ever pole for Milwaukee Aprilia in the Superbike World Championship. Lorenzo was likewise in scintillating form, consistently lapping near record pace before taking a strong P4 only +0.196s behind his teammate.
>From the first and second rows the team looked set to mount a serious podium challenge with both riders. Eugene made a good getaway but Rea and Melandri behind were quicker, pushing him to P3. As the field concertinaed into Turn 1 Lorenzo slipped past Eugene, whose race was then cruelly ended prematurely when Fores, unable to slow his bike in time for Turn 3, slid into Eugene and took them both out of the race.
Lorenzo pushed hard and hounded Melandri for P2, consistently lapping within 0.5s of his compatriot. He managed the gap well and was lining up an attack but more drama was to follow, when just 9 laps from the end Lorenzo made a mistake at Turn 1 and crashed out of the race into retirement.
For Race 2 Eugene and Lorenzo line up P10 and P11 respectively on Row 4, under the reverse grid rules and DNFs on Saturday. With very strong pace demonstrated on Saturday however they will be a sure threat as they battle through the field targeting a podium finish.
Race 2 at #PortimaoWorldSBK starts at 15:15 local time (GMT 0) on Sunday 16th September
Eugene Laverty #50 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
Superpole 2 result: 1'40.705 - Pole position
Race 1 result: DNF
Best race lap: N/A
Race 2 grid: P10 - row 4
"It was incredible to do a 1'40 lap around here, I didn't think it possible. I didn't benefit from anyone else making a mistake or other gifts which was good, I did it by myself and just focused on the track and getting all the potential out of the bike. We really understand this bike well now and I'm looking forward to the end of season races.
I felt I made a good start in the race but Johnny and Marco were really quick off the line and jumped ahead. We got bunched up at Turn 1 which let Lorenzo through and I was unfortunate to be the guy that Fores took out. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time basically.
It's heartbreaking for the guys to have such a high like a pole position and then a race that last 3 corners. It's equally painful to start Race 1 from pole with such potential and then start Race 2 from P10, but that gives me motivation to through everything at it tomorrow. I'm not going to rule out a podium, I want to make a good start and if I can stay with the guys ahead of me for the first few laps I think I can cut through and score well."
Lorenzo Savadori #32 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
Superpole 2 result: 1'40.901, +0.196 - P4 on grid
Race 1 result: DNF
Best race lap: 1'42.547
Race 2 grid: P11 - Row 4
"I was really pleased to make Superpole 2 this morning. I pushed hard in SP1 and set a really quick time, and then to take P4 in the second session only +0.196 from Eugene in pole was great for us.
Of course I am not happy with how the race ended. I was in third position and fighting with all of myself and all of the bike to make the podium. That was our target today and for sure it was possible, but I felt a little like I was really at the limit. I pushed too hard and crashed, and I want to say thanks to everyone at SMR and Aprilia Racing for their work to improve the bike from P14 yesterday.
I am looking forward to tomorrow and another chance to fight. It is unfortunate I have to start P11 in Race 2, but we will work very hard to make another step tonight and I hope we can challenge for a podium again."
WorldSSP: Mahias shines brightest in tight Superpole battle
GRT top Portimao qualifying with championship top six covering both front rows
Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) will return to the front row for the first time since Donington Park back in May after taking pole position at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve. The Frenchman was inches away from beating the lap record for an FIM Supersport World Championship machine and will resume his championship challenge in style after a couple of disappointing rounds.
Mahias will be accompanied on the front row by teammate Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team), who arrived at Portimao off the back of his first win of the season. The Italian starts in second and will be feeling confident for the Portuguese showdown tomorrow.
WorldSSP championship leader Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) will complete the front row in Sunday’s race, just ahead of main championship rival Jules Cluzel (NRT) in fourth. The pair are again evenly matched for the ninth round of the season and will be prepared for another titanic tussle, with just five points separating them in the standings.
Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) starts in fifth tomorrow in Algarve, in search of his sixth consecutive podium finish and after qualifying through Superpole 1; Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) meanwhile closes row two in sixth position and will again have to fight back to keep his championship options alive.
Seventh on the grid on Sunday will go to Kyle Smith (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda), the first Honda machine in qualifying, ahead of Ayrton Badovini (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag). Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) will begin from the back of row three in ninth position, while Hannes Soomer (Racedays) confirmed his best Superpole performance of 2018 with the tenth fastest time on Saturday. WorldSSP debutant Hector Barbera (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) will start from thirteenth on the Portimao grid.
Lights out for the ninth race of the season is at 13:45 local time (12:45 GMT) tomorrow.
Pole Position - Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team)
"I'm so happy for sure, it's been a very long time for me, I even forgot where Parc Ferme was! It's very good, I'm very happy and I worked a lot this weekend and I'm happy after the test. I worked throughout the summer to train for this moment and now I am happy and have a very good feeling in the bike. It's a great feeling to come back to the top and I hope to have the same tomorrow in the race."
#PortimaoWorldSBK WorldSSP at Autodromo Internacional do Algarve: Tissot-Superpole
1. Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) 1:44.588
2. Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) +0.225
3. Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) +0.311
GRT Yamaha Dominate Qualifying in Portimão
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team riders, Lucas Mahias and Federico Caricasulo, will start tomorrow's 18-lap World Supersport race from positions one and two on the grid after dominating qualifying in Portimão this afternoon. European Supersport Cup rider, Alfonso Coppola, will start the race from 21st position on the grid, after the Italian youngster significantly improved his lap time during qualifying.
Both Mahias and Caricasulo go into tomorrow's race, Round 9 of the FIM World Supersport Championship, confident of fighting for the win, after showing remarkable and consistent pace in both race and qualifying trim in every session so far this weekend. But in qualifying it was Mahias who came out on top, securing his fourth pole position of the season by just 0.3s from teammate Caricasulo.
Mahias currently lies fifth in the championship, 35 points behind series leader Sandro Cortese, with Caricasulo one place higher in the standings and one point closer to the top. Both GRT Yamaha riders head into tomorrow's 18-lap encounter determined to close the gap with two good results.
Coppola was forced to play catch up in this morning's final free practice session, having missed out on track time in FP2 yesterday due to a technical problem. The WorldSSP rookie continued to adapt to the demands of both his YZF-R6 and the extremely technical Portimão circuit in FP3 this morning, before going on to set his fastest time of the weekend in qualifying this afternoon, boosting his confidence ahead of tomorrow's race in the process.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - P1 - 1:44.588
"I'm really happy to be back at the top after two good days here in Portimão. This morning in FP3 I found a really good rhythm and finished top of the timesheet, so I know that my race pace is good. At the start of qualifying I wasn't pushing for pole position, because the first row is enough, and there was quite a bit of wind, which made things a little difficult. Then on the second tyre I pushed a lot and when I looked the lap time I was quite happy with what I saw. It's good for me, it's good for the team and now we need to do the same in the race tomorrow."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - P2 - 1:44.813
"I was hoping to do a little bit more in qualifying today, but I think a start from the front row is good enough for the race, so I'm happy enough with that. I've been fast and consistent in every session so far, so I am sure that we can go out there tomorrow and fight for the win. There are maybe five or six riders capable of winning here, but I'm confident we can take the fight to them and, if everything goes our way, come out on top."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Junior Team - P21 - 1'47.987
"I made a good step today compared to yesterday, but at this track it's very difficult to find the good line for every corner. I made a step forward today in FP3 and again in qualifying, but my ideal time also improved and this is very important. Tomorrow in warm up and in the race I need to concentrate on the lines on every lap, as this is as critical for the lap time here as how early you are on the gas or how late on the brakes."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - Team Manager
"An incredible result today, but we knew before qualifying that we had a really high potential. We've worked a lot this weekend on race set up but then this morning we worked more on the lap time and ended the session first and second, so we knew we would be in a strong position in qualifying. To have two riders first and second shows what a great job both the team and the riders have done this weekend and I'm very pleased with the result. Now we are focused on the race because, of course, this is the most important part of the weekend. Alfonso lost some time yesterday, but continued to improve during the two sessions today, setting his fastest time of the weekend in qualifying, which proves we're working in the right direction."
KRUMMENACHER SCORES SECOND ROW ON THE GRID
Portimao (Portugal), 15 September 2018
After the long summer break, it’s all systems go for round nine of the Supersport world championship. The international Algarve circuit in the south of Portugal is hosting the event, summer weather, significant humidity and temperatures in excess of 30°C awaiting the riders and teams. The Portimao circuit is renowned for its spectacular and undulating layout and is undoubtedly one of the trickiest tracks on the calendar, though this does ensure a good dose of adrenaline and excitement for the riders and fans alike.
Krummenacher will take part in his first race at this circuit tomorrow. The Portuguese round returned to the calendar in 2017, a year in which the Swiss rider was forced to end his season prematurely due to a wrist injury suffered during the race in Germany.
Krummenacher got to know the Portuguese track in August, when the team carried out a two-day test in preparation for tomorrow’s race. Two days are not enough of course, but Krummenacher and his team are trying to get the most out of each season in other to be prepared for the race.
Yesterday, the team Bardahl Evan Bros rider closed in fifth place, stopping the clock on 1’45.791 and gaining access to Superpole 2, a session that has just concluded and in which Krummenacher obtained the sixth fastest time. This translates into a second row start for tomorrow’s race, which will get underway at 1.45pm local time.
Krummenacher, confident and optimistic as ever, is already working in order to be able to give it his all tomorrow.
RK21: “Portimao is a beautiful track, I like it and know I can be strong, but it’s also a very tough track, especially for me considering my lack of experience. Yesterday, we worked a lot on the bike and so I wasn’t able to improve on my times. Today I finished sixth in Superpole. Not bad, but we can definitely improve further. I was very fast in certain sectors, but was losing in others and so overall, I couldn’t complete a very fast lap. Sixth position is good, I know I am consistent and can fight for important points for the championship standings. We need to take another look at the chassis set-up and then I’ll be ready to give it my all in the race.”
Smith has top five in sights at Portimão
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda’s Kyle Smith just missed out on a second row grid spot in Superpole 2 today to finish top Honda in seventh position. Smith heads up the third row of the grid for tomorrow’s 18-lap World Supersport race at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve and has a top five finish in his sights.
Smith said: “Not bad qualifying. I was hoping for a little bit more for myself but we have worked a lot on the bike this weekend. There have been moments where the bike turned a little better and we know what we need to do to have this feel in the race. I feel confident with my race pace and my aim is for a top five finish in the race.”
In Superpole 1 fellow CIA Landlord Insurance Honda rider Peter Sebestyen was unable to improve his best time set in Free Practice and qualified in 17thposition. The Hungarian rider will start the race tomorrow from the sixth row of the grid and is looking to challenge well inside the points at the Portuguese circuit.
Sebestyen said: “The qualifying result is not what I wanted as this morning I was faster and I felt that the bike and myself could match the time or maybe a little bit better. So I pushed really hard but a bit too hard I think. I did not follow the plan to get behind the fastest riders which was another point I missed out on to help me improve as I continue to learn the bike and feel where the limit is. On the second run I was on my own on track so it was hard for me to push where I can on the bike with no more experienced riders to learn from in front of me. The key point in the race tomorrow is to be stronger than I was in my first race in Misanoand as long as I can do that I feel we can have a good points scoring result tomorrow.”
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “We wanted to be on the first two rows with Kyle and I believe we had the bike and rider to be there. We have made such big steps working with MecTronik and as a team we can be proud of this. Kyle always has good race pace and here this looks good. The forecast is hot again tomorrow and I expect Kyle to be strong in the second part of the race. He feels he can be top five and this has to be our target. The chance is there for us so we need to take it.”
“Peter I think pushed too hard in qualifying and missed his chance to improve his time. That said he is still learning where the limit of the bike is and he starts in a better position than he did in Misano. He has had more time on the bike now and he knows he needs to be stronger in the earlier laps to fight with the points scoring group. I think he is on course to achieve our objective of a points scoring position in the race.”
Okubo Ninth As Barbera Gains WorldSSP Experience
New regular Kawasaki Puccetti Racing pairing Hikari Okubo and Hector Barbera secured third and fifth row starts respectively for Sunday’s WorldSSP race at Portimao. Okubo was ninth fastest in SP2 and new team member Barbera 13th in SP1. Guest rider Kengo Nagao was 26th after Superpole 1.
On the eve of the ninth race of the 2018 FIM Supersport World Championship season Kawasaki Puccetti Racing new signing Hector Barbera had his first experience of Superpole qualifying on a WorldSSP machine. He came close to entering Superpole 2 despite losing out on some track time, just missing by one place.
Okubo was the top Kawasaki qualifier on the grid, pushing hard in Superpole 1 to enter into Superpole 2. His arrival on the third row of the grid leaves him in a good position to stay in contention with the leading group on Sunday, in what is scheduled to be an 18-lap race.
Having taken part in few days of testing before going for a final qualifying position at Portimao, Barbera made big improvements in his pace to move from 23rd in combined free practice to 13th on the grid. This will be his first competitive outing at Portimao, having spent his career in the MotoGP scene.
Hikari Okubo, stated: “Superpole was not so bad because I got to ninth place. That is a big step because this morning I was 14th. But the lap time is the same as yesterday, so I feel we are a bit limited right now. The bike feeling is coming better, for sure, but we need to work and think a bit more. It is very important that we work with the suspension guys and team staff this evening to try and get a better feeling in warm-up tomorrow morning. If we can, I think we can do a good race. I am also happy to be the top Kawasaki rider today.”
Hector Barbera stated: “I am very happy to return to racing. I have a good feeling with the bike, which is very nice and fast. But this track is new for me and yesterday it was only possible to try or a time in FP1, as in FP2 we had an issue and I could not spend much time on track. This afternoon, Superpole gave us a short time to understand the bike, the tyres, the team and the category, because it is all new for me. Qualifying was not bad but I am not happy because I wanted to pass into Superpole 2. The main thing is that the team is working well and I have to go step by step - and I am happier than yesterday.”
Wayne Tessels (Chromeburner Wayne’s Racingteam MTM) and his fellow ESS part-time rider Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer) were 18th and 19th respectively in Superpole 1 today.
Series regular Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) qualified 23rd, with Christian Stange and Javier Ezequiel Iturrioz from Team GoEleven Kawasaki) 24th and 25th.
WorldSSP300: Edwards takes stunning Portimao Superpole
Aussie scores first WorldSSP300 pole position ahead of Valle, with Carrasco ninth
Tom Edwards (Nutec- Benjan – Kawasaki) will lead the line on Sunday at the penultimate FIM Supersport 300 World Championship race of the season after putting in a fantastic lap 1’56.877 in Superpole 2 at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, ahead of the two Yamahas of Daniel Valle (BCD Yamah MS Racing) and Manuel González (BCD Pertamina Junior Team by MS Racing).
The 17-year-old becomes the first Australian to win a WorldSSP300 Tissot Superpole, and also the first Australian to take a pole in any WorldSBK competition since Broc Parkes in WorldSSP back in 2012. His previous best qualifying performance was tenth at MotorLand Aragon.
He leads row one ahead of the Spanish duo of Valle and González, who will also be making their first front row starts in 2018. Row two sees Scott Deroue (Motoport Kawasaki) in fourth, ahead of Dorren Loureiro (DS Junior Team) in fifth, and the returning Robert Schotman (Motoport Kawasaki) in sixth after qualifying from Superpole 1.
Borja Sánchez (ETG Racing) leads row three in seventh, ahead of Maria Herrera (BCD Yamaha MS Racing) in eighth, and championship leader Ana Carrasco (DS Junior Team) in ninth. The Murcian faces her first chance to become World Champion at Portimao starting just ahead of her main championship rival Luca Grunwald (Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team), who finished at the back of Superpole 2 in twelfth.
Carrasco faces the opportunity to make motorcycling history tomorrow at 12:45 local time (11:45 GMT).
Pole Position - Tom Edwards (Nutec- Benjan – Kawasaki)
"It's really awesome, especially after all my qualifying this year. I've been struggling at the start of the weekend and having that pressure of having to come from the back to the front in the race. I'm feeling confident considering I'm starting at the front and now having to deal with some other riders I have to pass."
#PortimaoWorldSBK WorldSSP300 at
Autodromo Internacional do Algarve: Tissot-Superpole 2
1. Tom Edwards (Nutec- Benjan – Kawasaki)
2. Daniel Valle (BCD Yamaha MS Racing) +0.136
3. Manuel Gonzalez (BCD Yamaha MS Racing) +0.174